I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Sunday, March 9, 2014

RealMyst Masterpiece Edition Review #4: Channelwood

First things first, some news: the first weekend of April I will be able to get into Riven for iPhone which will act as my "something to do on the plane" on my way to and from Portland.  That is, of course, if I can stay awake because I have a talent of falling into a deep sleep when I fly, from take off to touchdown.  But I think this time my excitement for Riven will keep me awake.

Anyhow, onward and upward to Channelwood!

I haven't played RealMyst Masterpiece Edition for a while so I had to get used to the controls again.  I have been watching crimault play Riven all this time so I have been in point-and-click mode.  Of course, you can do that mode in RMME also, but I do enjoy free roam immensely.  However, getting the hand of the controls again while in the middle of getting the tree elevator functioning is stressful!

I didn't go to the tower to get the combination for the safe because I thought my memory would serve.  It didn't.  I knew the numbers were 2, 4, and 7, but I forgot the order and tried every possible combination until I finally got that thing open.

At last, I arrived at beautiful Channelwood.  Just look at these amazing effects!

Refurbed lake in Channelwood
You can really see how much work went into this Age.  I am of the opinion that you can always tell which character is a writer's favorite in their books from the extent of that character's development.  Perhaps the same holds true for  Cyan and Myst!  Channelwood was their first promo pic after all.

The thing that makes Channelwood so challenging is remembering where you are when you everything looks the same.  Moreover, when you click on a gauge to change the direction of water flow the game turns you around to face a different direction.  A wise person would make a map -- or better yet, use the map that was in the journal that I completely forgot -- but since my cartography skills are nonexistent I go by memory and mind map alone and hope for the best.

Unrelated, but can anyone tell me what this lever does?  It didn't seem to have any effect.
I just remembered what else was in the journal for this Age that discussed monkey-like people.  I'm kind of glad they're no longer here because that would be creepy.  It calls to mind the mangrees from Myst IV: Revelation and I don't think I could handle mangrees anywhere outside of Haven.

They're lucky they're cute.
It got dark rather quickly here and the changes in light are absolutely stunning.  I have a lot of stuff below:

Channelwood at sundown 
Channelwood at sundown

Channelwood moon

The problem with nighttime is that it is constantly nighttime.  I believe frustration about this has been raised elsewhere.  While it is really excellent and exciting to have a nighttime Channelwood, I don't think we were so in love with the idea that we would never see daytime Channelwood for longer than 5 minutes.  Having to take out our in-game iPhone 5's and use that the whole time takes away a little bit from the aesthetic experience of this most excellent Age.  It made the upper levels a bit more difficult to navigate, as if it wasn't difficult enough!  All those blasted huts look the same.  At this moment I thought of that song from the Lion King "Endless Night."  I had a soundtrack running through my head the entire time.

I remember the first time I played this Age.  I was so lost, both "physically" and mentally, and all because of the ever-elusive lever that unlocks the stairs to get the elevator to the third level to function.  It seems so obvious in retrospect because it's only in the central hut!

Switch that opens the stairs
And those stairs.  That is a dizzying process if ever there was one, especially if you "run" (hold shift key).  Check this out:


Coming upon Achenar on the third tier is always a disturbing experience, and I remember the first time I played it I shrieked when I happened upon his hologram.  He's such a freak, but I do like his tribal masks.  I wouldn't mind having one for my apartment to go along with my others.

Achenar's foyer
And what the heck are these things?  Houseplants?  Candles?  Houseplant candles?

What are these things?
Some thoughts on Achenar: Knowing where he is, that is, in Haven, and having been there myself, I really feel quite awful for him.  Sirrus not so much because Spire is at least safe.  But Haven, damn.  That's a terrifying place!  And the first time I played that game, and even the second time, it very nearly gave me a heart attack, more so that Achenar's hologram here and Gehn's hologram and the creepy little girl in Riven.  (By the way, I am so looking forward to crimault finding her.)  It's funny that Achenar, who is very much insane now becomes sane after being trapped in an insane place.  Myst IV has some redeeming qualities.

While on the subject of Revelation, tromping around in Sirrus's bedroom is a relevatory experience.  I have no idea why I chose him when I played this game the first time.  Clearly he has issues: alcoholism, anger management problems, lust for money.  Throughout the game it is not as blatantly obvious as Achenar's weapons and psycho recordings, but here at Channelwood it strives very hard to get the message across.

Anger management problems

Alcoholism and sneaky concealed weapon
What I find most amusing about this Age is Sirrus's toothbrush:

Sirrus's toothbrush
That is actually something that I find interesting: how did people brush their teeth so long ago?  In the movie Lost in Austen gives a clue as to how tooths were brushed ca. 1840 (?), but I don't know if that is reliable information.

Anyhow, Channelwood is complete and there is only one Age left to explore -- Selenitic-- before I free Atrus and visit Rime!  Oh and also while playing through Channelwood I had a brilliant idea for a Myst perfume: Chanel-wood.  Get it?  Get it?  Hardy har har, oh I make myself laugh.

On another octave, I was very excited to discover Rome: Total War II on Steam!!!  But, gasp!  It's $60!!  I haven't finished playing through Rome: Total War I, however.  Also, my game is not connected to Steam, so maybe I will purchase it on there in case there are updates I need, but that is for the future.  I'm still working on Pharaoh (which totally needs to be added to Steam!!!  maybe I will write a letter) and have been for years, on and off.  I've made it to the stage before building the Great Pyramid under Khufu, which means I have only just begun the 4th Dynasty (and there are over 30 Dynasties).  I wish there was more time.  Then again, I'd probably waste it doing other things.

Also, I think SimFarm should somehow be added to Myst.  That was my favorite game when I was a kid, before Myst took over my life.  I had a farm going for over two years and I had over $2,000,000 and owned nearly all the plots of land that one could own.  I miss that game.

Brain hurts too much to edit for the moment.

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